Introducing a low tax category for very low nicotine content
cigarettes would rapidly reduce smoking rates to much lower
levels, according to a public health medicine specialist.
In his study, published in the New Zealand Medical
Journal, End Smoking NZ Trust chairman Murray Laugesen
found that imposing less tax on denicotinised, or denic,
cigarettes would reduce consumption of normal, addictive
A two-tier excise policy would be kinder to smokers, allowing
them to select and smoke a mix of expensive addictive
cigarettes and low-cost denics to control smoking costs,
reduce cravings and help people quit.
"A lower tax rate classification for denics would make it
politically easier to increase the price of (addictive
cigarettes) and thereby reduce smoking more rapidly to much
lower levels," Dr Laugesen concluded.
He said all cigarettes generate toxic chemicals in the smoke
regardless of nicotine content, but reducing the degree of
addiction would make success easier for the one third of
smokers who attempt to quite each year.
"Denic smoke being as toxic as (addictive cigarette) smoke
but less addictive would merit an excise rate set and held at
say 80 per cent of the 2012 rate, creating price incentives
for smokers to switch from their their current ... brands,
and for manufacturers and importers to make or sell denic
"Sale of denic cigarettes wherever (addictive cigarettes) are
sold would provide an escape product for addicted smokers
facing higher prices each January over the next four years."
He said denics could succeed in New Zealand because smokers
would not be asked to quit smoking, only to smoke less